The Tulsa Press Club and Benevolent Association inducted Frontier publisher Bobby Lorton and father Robert Lorton, retired chairman and publisher of World Publishing Co., into the Great Plains Journalism Hall of Fame on Friday. The Frontier also won four first-place awards at the Great Plains Journalism Awards at a ceremony in Tulsa.
Robert Lorton started working at the Tulsa World in 1959, serving as a reporter, vice president, and secretary and treasurer before being named president in 1968. Robert Lorton became the publisher in 1988. In 2013, he sold World Publishing Co. to Warren Buffet’s BH Media Group in response to rapid changes in the newspaper industry.
Bobby Lorton started working at the Tulsa World in 1989, holding jobs in circulation, advertising and administration before moving on to executive management. He was named president of World Publishing in 1998 and later became the fifth publisher of the Tulsa World.
A Tulsa native, Bobby Lorton graduated from Holland Hall in 1987, attended the University of Colorado and graduated from the University of Tulsa. In 2015, two years after the sale of the Tulsa World, Bobby Lorton launched The Frontier, a nonprofit newsroom that focuses on in-depth and investigative journalism.
The Frontier also took top several honors. Reporters Clifton Adcock and Reese Gorman won first place for investigative reporting together with Oklahoma Watch reporter Jennifer Palmer for their joint probe into then-Secretary of Education Ryan Walters’ employment at a nonprofit funded by school reform groups that keeps its donors secret.
Frontier Managing Editor Brianna Bailey, Steve Lackmeyer, reporter for The Oklahoman, and Nathan Poppe, editor of Curbside Chronicle, took first place in magazine news writing for a series of stories on Oklahoma City’s shortage of affordable housing. Reese Gorman, Bailey and Kayla Branch won first place for general news for The Frontier’s continuing coverage of the Swadley’s Foggy Bottom Kitchen scandal.
The Frontier also won a first-place award for its ongoing coverage of women who face criminal charges for substance use during pregnancy. Bailey and Kassie McClung, along with Cary Aspinwall, reporter for The Marshall Project, and Amy Yurkanin, reporter for AL.com all contributed reporting on the issue.
The Great Plains Journalism Awards recognizes the best work of journalists in eight states including Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota.